All posts by Thibaut Angelvy

Flex-Sense, offroad telemetry

 

Flex-Sense specializes in distance measurements. Via very low speed networks that are robust, independent and autonomous in energy, the startup created in La Roche-sur-Yon (Pays de la Loire) in July 2015 is now able to work in all environments and for many various uses. First application: the connected oyster to fight against theft. Interview with the President and co-founder, Emmanuel Parlier.

 

What is Flex-Sense’s expertise?

The company was born from 26 months of R&D on innovative telemetry solutions. We are setting up very low speed long range networks, to which we connect objects via custom made electronics. This enables real-time information feedback, remotely and in particular for monitoring and decision support. The networks are independent, because the information “bounces” from one antenna to another, and they have their own energy. Our customers retain ownership of their data which they can even resell.

 

One of your first products is the connected oyster. Why?

We chose the maritime environment as our first field of application because it is a particularly aggressive environment excellent for validating the performance and robustness of our solutions. Also, off the Vendée coast, one finds a concentration of 90% of all the living organisms on the planet. We had the opportunity to work with oyster producers who needed solutions to fight against theft. In July, tens of tonnes of oysters were stolen from the French oyster farms. Just four days after we all met, we developed a prototype “mystery” connected oyster that instantly notifies the producer in case of theft.

 

In what other fields could Flex-Sense be used?

Our solutions are very transversal and can be applied in many areas. By June, our networks will cover 85% of the French coasts and we aim to become the leader of marine telemetry. However, the marine sector is just the tip of the iceberg, because we can use the networks to communicate up to 30 kilometres inland or to deploy an ad-hoc network for specific requirements. There are many opportunities, especially in construction, agriculture and industry. Whenever we speak with a customer, we discover new potential applications!

 

What are your objectives for 2017?

We are looking for funds to accelerate our International development. By September 2017, we hope to raise between €3 million and €5 million. The objective is to deploy Flex-Sense on all continents, firstly on the west coast of South America as a priority because of its great potential.

Milestones

Based in La Roche-sur-Yon, in Vendée, Flex-Sense is a company with capital of € 420,000 created in July, 2015. The cumulative turnover was € 1 million in November 2016, after only two months of marketing the connected oyster, and should reach € 2.5 million by the beginning of 2017. The company already markets its solutions in Vietnam and North Africa.

Further information: www.flex-sense.com

On course for the Franco-British Offshore Wind & Tidal Event

The Pays de la Loire Economic Development Agency took part in the Franco-British Offshore Wind & Tidal Event. Organised in Paris on 2 February, this professional event dedicated to marine renewable energies aimed to reveal and accelerate the economic opportunities in a sector that is booming on both sides of the Channel.

With 29 offshore wind and tidal power farms, the UK is a European pioneer in marine renewable energies. France arrived later in this new industrial sector but has seen accelerated development. We estimate that the French offshore wind power market will represent over €300 million by 2021.

The UK Department for International Trade (DIT) organised a BtoB event to give companies a global vision of the British and French markets. The sixth Franco-British Offshore Wind & Tidal Event took place on 2 February at the British Embassy in Paris, with a proven formula of conferences in the morning followed by business meetings in the afternoon.

The Agence Régionale des Pays de la Loire took part in this major international event to meet British companies interested by the region’s dynamism in MREs as The Pays de la Loire are at the forefront in this industry. The first offshore floating wind turbine in France will be installed off Saint-Nazaire in a few months, and the Pays de la Loire will receive two of the first six offshore wind farms in France.

The region has already seduced international MRE actors, including the Scottish company Natural Power, which installed its French head office in Nantes last spring, and the British company Mojo Maritime, that chose Nantes as the location for its first foreign subsidiary.

HRV, virtual reality serving the best professional gestures

H for haptics, the science of touch and RV for virtual reality – HRV, located near Laval, develops a range of innovative simulators to study and repeat professional gestures in the areas of health and industry. A presentation of the start-up by Arnaud Cosson, founding Director.

What are HRV’s flagship medical simulation products?

Our first virtual reality simulator, Virteasy Dental (for dental surgeons), still represents a significant share of our revenue. In 2016, we sold several in France, and also in Chile, Bulgaria, Russia… We are also making progress on our obstetric simulator, Virteasy Birth: in July, we completed the ANR* Saga project, culminating in a working prototype. We now require new financing to launch the industrialisation phase, and are studying different options: fund raising, partnerships, R&D calls for projects…

How do you transpose your know-how to the industrial sector?

HRV solutions can use virtual reality to improve the ergonomics of workplaces in industrial sectors. The goal is to identify and prevent professional risks, such as musculo-skeletal disorders. This business generates around one quarter of our revenue, and represents a significant potential. We recently won a call for tender for a very innovative R&D project, carried by the University of Lorraine, that aims to build a decision-making tool for adapted physical activities. We will carry out a study on human metrology to measure health risks depending on movements. This pioneering analyse of “human 4.0” aims to enrich medical knowledge, and will also allow us to improve our offer for the industrial sector.

What are your priority export markets?

Whilst we are targeting the European market for the moment, we have also sold machines on other continents, without marketing activities. We have a partner in China, where marketing is limited, and are beginning to develop in Africa, particularly in North African countries.

 

* Agence nationale de la recherche (National Research Agency).

Milestones

Created in 2013 next to Laval (Mayenne, France), HRV has around ten employees. In 2016, revenue should reach €1M.

Further informationwww.hrv-simulation.com/en

See also The Pays de la Loire plots a course for the CES 2017.